Sunday, June 24, 2007

Installment Two, Scrappy Rebuilt Log Cabin

OK, above is your block pressed, with messy edges. At this point I'm thinking wider logs might have been a better choice, but this is what I did, so I'll live with it.

Next (above), I trimmed this block to 10 1/2 inches. That was tight! But since my logs were narrow, if I trimmed to 10 inches, I would be up against the seam line when sewing the blocks together

Just look at them laid out. This was just one setting.

Below is what your corners may look like. (This is another project - not the same blocks, but you know they look like the same fabric! -- and, I took the photo against the bed quilt in the background - kinda hard to see where one project begins and ends.) There is NO rhyme or reason to how your corners will look. A little lumpy, yes - get over it and don't tell the Quilt Police. Those lumps get buried in the batting. And, it will definitely be machine quilted, with all those seams.

I posted 2 of these type quilts in September 2006, probably before I was connected to Bloglines, so you may not have seen 2 finished Rebuilt Log Cabins.

If you make one of these, or just make 4 blocks for a table runner, I would LOVE to see them. Remember, this is a great Stashbuster, not a quilt made by the rules!

Scrappy Rebuilt Log Cabin

I'll never get all these photos in one post so ... I'll have to do it in installments.

Like most of us, I have scraps -- a lot of them, and even though none of them 'match' anything else, I feel compelled to use them. I've had several days of 'I just gotta speed sew!' I have the good sense to maintain a box of precut strips and the result is these 51 log cabin blocks. You might notice I've not been very careful at the edge -- I even patched a log or two - not to worry - I have a plan.

My strips are cut 1 1/2 inch, and I made 5 rounds, with center of 1 inch finished, so the block is about 11 1/2 inches. My sewing is very casual -- I KNOW it will be wonderful when finished! I've made this about 6 times previously - it's wonderful and inventive!
See the chalk line? I made a square cardboard template of 8 1/2 inches and chalk marked around it. I put the points of the template right to the edge. You want an interesting tilt, or angle - mine was about 30 degrees. (45 degrees is too big.) Now, cut along the lines on each side. Be sure to tilt them all in the same direction either all right or all left. It gets tooooo confusing (for me) to mix that tilt both ways!

OK, now exchange each corner with the opposite side. (Hmmmm, what if I just moved each side forward one side ... (OK, Elaine, save that for another day).

I trimmed all 51 blocks, one at a time, then placed the cut-off corners on the block they came off of (so they didn't get mixed up with the next block) until I had a stack of all 51.

Sew those corners back on. It's hard to figure exactly where to start sewing with those skinny points so I found that if I lined up the large corner first, the rest sewed down well. I could almost sew all 4 down, without cutting the thread. You may want to trim off some extra seam points that get in the way.

You asked about the pencil

Many of you have asked about my chalk pencil. Here is a close-up. You can see the lines before spritzing. My deer looks a little hefty!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Deer template

This worked pretty well. My quilt is very forest-y themed. The space above the border is mushrooms and grasses, then a vine, then ???? I tend not to know what I'm doing to do until I'm doing it (no comments please - after all, we are artists of sorts and are allowed free style!).

I drew 2 different deer, and the best part about these plastic templates is that you can turn them over and get 2 images for the price of one! I purchased a new kind of inexpensive chalk pencil that holds up pretty well. The chalk is hard and sharp, and stays on the fabric well while I'm quilting. My first efforts are quite acceptable. The deer are from a book of continuous line patterns.

For those of you who are afraid to try these continuous line patterns, you know, you don't have to be exact - after all, it's a representation, not an exact duplicate. Unless you are shooting for First Place, absolutely NO ONE is going to follow your stitching, stitch by stitch, and call the quilt police to authenticate your stitches. DONE is good and I'm getting close to DONE.

There's a baby dove in there

OK, there really IS one in there. On the right side of the photo, a dark blob, is the young dove eye. That's about as good as the photo gets! This was taken about 10 days ago. Despite me 'checking in' at least 10 times a day, and me sitting many hours on the deck watching for dove activity, not once have I seen the parents change duties, nor have I seen any little flapping of wings, heard any dove noises, seen delivery of any type of sustenance. This morning both the parents and one little dove, are gone - empty nest! No sign of them anywhere. No little hungry dove in the yard, none on garage roof, nor telephone wires. I'm happy they brought another little dove into the world, but hey, I've been watching for a long time and wanted some satisfaction.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Oldie but Goodie

Don’t laugh ... I’m suffering from sewing machine overload and need to eliminate this machine. Before it goes, I wanted to play with it a bit. It’s a little ‘stiff’ from sitting in a corner unused for 2 years.

I will tell you how I came into ownership of this old Touch and Go, Singer. I work at a church, and the ladies hold a frequent Rummage Sale. The stuff that shows up?- you wouldn’t believe it, and in no time at all, the storage room is full! During my effort to help make more space in the storage room, one of the sorting ladies found this old sewing machine, and said, “Elaine, why don’t you buy this for $5.00 to make more space for other stuff?” Now, those ladies do a lot of good work for the church, and so I forked over my $5.00 and one of the men carried it out to my car trunk where I totally forgot about it.

The next grocery shopping day, I was surprised to find this machine in the trunk, and being a believer in “ya gotta take care of stuff,” I decided to give it a try. I couldn’t make heads or tails out of its operation (no book) so I drove it to my repair facility for a tune-up and instructions. The repair shop also carries a great supply of fabric, which didn’t hurt my decision-making process!

$80.00 later I brought home a decently working sewing machine AND an Instruction Book. Among other clever features, this machine has a bobbin that you wind from the regular sewing operation - you don’t have to remove the bobbin! It has cams and zig-zag features, several throat plates, lots of gizmos in a handy storage box, and everything fits nicely in the carrying case. In it’s day, it was probably pretty great. And it’s very heavy, (yes, too heavy to haul around to classes), but that heaviness adds to it’s stability. OK, I used it for several days, and then reverted back to one of my OTHER 4 machines.

Now, I really must eliminate this machine, and hope I can find it a good home ... (because I have my eye on a Janome Gem Gold 760!) ... for classes, of course, and small enough to take on a plane).

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Dimensional Quilt

I’ve been really busy quilting this past week -- that’s all, and have been unable to keep up with other blogs. I’m feeling guilty. And now, there are so many MORE to check out!

My current project (NOT shown) is free-motion quilted, full of woodsy images, kinda sketchy, not solid or straight lines - things in the woods should be weedy, spider-webby, viney, crooked, leafy, grassy-filled, etc., so that’s what I’m doing. It’s for our Guild Quilt Show, so I cannot post the whole project until after July. Coming up with quilting pattern ideas takes longer than actually quilting!

Since I don’t have anything new, I will show you a dimensional quilt I made some time ago. This was for the first official class I had arranged to attend - I had taken a day vacation, etc., I was so excited. Just to be sure I didn’t look like an uneducated boob in the class, I decided to practice just a little bit before the class, and true to my nature, once I started, there was no stopping, and by the day of the class, I had the entire top pieced! So I machine quilted it, while all the others had to listen to instructions. (I was very good and did NOT pipe in with my opinions or suggestions.)

This project was from a book by Jackie Robinson. The technique is a little ‘gimicky’ -- sometimes ya wanna know how these things are done! Each block has a number of dimensional pieces in it, and I can just imagine how a child, or anyone, would love to play with those folds.

It is free-motion quilted in short boxy straight lines, which worked well.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

On a roll, at least for today

Thanks so very much for all the comments about that wheelchair icon next to Word Verification when writing a comment. Each morning, I love to return to my computer to see what new information I've learned from all of you. The icon-clicking-action produces a weird recording that sounds like something played backward. A gal in German responded that hers repeats the letters shown, in German. It may be support for visual handicaps, as Bonnie suggested.

This "Star in the Forest" quilt has been basted and sandwiched for weeks, while I gathered up courage, incentive, creativity as to how to quilt it. Our quilt show theme in mid-July is "Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend" and I want it done by then. The quilt show winners are Viewer's Choice -- Viewers can be fickle so every year, there are surprises when winners are determined!

This is an example of my possible quilting designs. Between my quilt books, the dictionary, my yard, and my imagination, these are several designs I'm shooting for. I ALWAYS use curved lines, if possible. It helps me to practice the design on paper, or a Magna Doodle (kids toy) until I get the pattern in my head. Even after starting, the final quilting is much better and more controlled then the first. I am a firm believer in "DON'T FOLLOW THE LINES", but rather, get into the flow of things and loosen up. I hear from so many gals who claim they are afraid of this - my word, don't be afraid -- it's so simple, but keeping your hands steady and loose and flowing is NOT so easy. Like playing the piano, skill comes with practice. (I say that today, because my efforts are going well - but maybe not the next time for me!) The thread is a poly, variegated, which seemed to blend the best. I'm using it in the bobbin also.

I've decided to quilt each of the 8 segments in a different pattern. I sew on a domestic machine, Janome 6500, Memory Craft, and have had it for 18 months, with excellent results. Like any machine it has it's quirks, but nothing of great concern. It's a heavy machine, not for classes, and I think that helps it's stability.

I'm completed one segment of 8. Whew!

A little closer ... lots of unexpected turns, a few peculiar stitches, but hey, it's OK!

Saturday, June 02, 2007

What is that thing?

OK, 'Bloggers-who-have-learned-everything' -- I have a question. When I comment on many blogs, often there is a requirement for Word Verification. Next to the block where you type the letters, is a small icon, that looks like a wheelchair. OK, I thought it might have something to do with Handicap Accessibility, so I clicked on it. Sound begins, then I'm hearing female voices, most of which is unintelligible. I recognize a few words, but mostly I cannot make sense of it - and it doesn't even sound like any particular language.

What is that?

Friday, June 01, 2007


Time for replacement? How can any person keep something so disreputable! I’ve kept this tote on my closet door for umpteen years. This is where I stash my hand washables – it has definitely seen better days! The edges are frayed, the handle has the stuffing falling out. The other side is a Hen and Chicks block. This tote goes back to Quilt-As-You-Go, with Georgia Bonesteel, the first quilting person I ever saw on TV. I was mesmerized watching her cut and sew and quilt! Little did I know my fascination would keep me occupied for over 25 years!

I’m making 2-12 inch blocks to come up with something a bit more appealing. This is the Double T, or sometimes called the Temperance Block. Usually I use very bright contrasting colors but challenged myself to do something softer.

The ruler is called a Flying Geese ruler - oh yes, something else to purchase! And I bought the book also! There is no waste to this technique. However, you really don’t need the ruler - I’ve seen the technique in various places on the net. Plain old measurements will work, but I DID use the ruler on this Temperance Block.

Eggs in the Nest

She has eggs! Look hard - those light areas in the center are the eggs - but I can't get close enough to count them. We noticed them 6 days ago, but she sticks on that nest, virtually 24-7! Sometimes I look in and can barely see – her soft plumage melts into the foliage.

The blue jays are always around, and blue jays are baby-bird killers. I’ve seen them flying with little bodies in their beaks, so we want to watch closely when the doves hatch. Hope our watchfulness will help them raise this brood.